San Francisco’s Official Musical Instrument

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The 1960s is known for rock bands. But folk singing was still popular. Peter, Paul and Mary started recording in 1962 with “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had a Hammer.”

In 1965, they recorded the “San Francisco Bay Blues.” Here they are performing that song, including a long kazoo performance. And we do have to forgive them for using the term “Frisco.”

In the mid-1980s, a hearing was held to make a decision about: should the official instrument of San Francisco be an accordion? The Court of Historical Review was presided over by Superior Court Judge George Choppelas. George said, “The Mayor and the Supervisors were asked to proclaim the accordion the official instrument of the city. So I held a hearing.

We had the attorneys who were arguing pro and against the proposal. Witnesses including people who represented alternatives. There were the cable car bell ringing supporters and someone who did a fog horn imitation. Then who storms in but Bill Graham with an electric guitar to represent all of our famous bands. But I surprised them all. I told everyone I am going to veto all of the proposals in favor of the kazoo. And I had 50 people from all over the courthouse come marching in playing kazoos.”

Apparently, this ruling was only a suggestion and not definitive. San Francisco’s official musical instrument is still the accordion. So to put in one more vote in support of the kazoo, here is Enrique performing in 2015 with a ukulele and a kazoo. It would not sound the same on the accordion:

Best wishes,
Carol